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No more butt flicking!

Michelle Southern & Eric Gill reporting.
On the same day that smoking is banned from public colleges and universities, motorists could face a much stiffer penalty if they throw a cigarette butt from a car window. The new law increases fines for the intentional disposal of a cigarette from a motor vehicle.
Marrerro Representative Patrick Connick says littering has to stop.

"Cigarette butts are the number one litter problem in the country and people just don't think twice when they throw them out of a window on to the street," said Connick.

The new law increases first offense fines from $250 to $300, plus community service.

Connick says he was inspired to write this legislation after participating in "clean up days" in his district.

"People need to realize that they can't do it and they shouldn't do it and maybe this will become a cleaner state," said Connick.

Under the new law, third and subsequent offense fines jump to $1,500 plus 80 hours of community service and suspension of your driver's license for one year.

Connick says the key to the success of this law is enforcement.

"Along the roads all you see is cigarette butts," said Connick. "People think it's not a problem, but it is a problem."


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First Female Bomb Wing Commander

The Air Force's oldest bomb wing, located in Bossier City, is now being commanded by its first ever female bomb wing commander. Col. Kristen Goodwin is taking command of the 2nd Bomb Wing based out of Barksdale Air Force Base. Retired Master Sgt. and military archivist at LSUS Shawn Bohannon says first and foremost, it's about a qualified officer getting a well earned promotion.

"She is a highly skilled, and highly trained professional, and she has earned this promotion through merit."
The Air Force began training it's first female pilots in 1976, and began training it's first female fighter pilots in 1993. Bohannon says those first graduates are beginning to move into upper level commands.
"The Air Force has a history of allowing women into flying positions, starting in the 1970s. We're starting to see the fruition of the 1970's graduates."
Goodwin is now commanding the dozen squadrons that make up the 2nd Bomb Wing. Bohannon says it's one of the best jobs in the Air Force.
"Over the years, i have worked with many Wing Commanders, and many of them were all fond of saying that holding a wing command in the Air Force is one of the best jobs an officer can hope to have."
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Sales tax holiday starts today

Louisiana's  sales tax holiday starts today. For the next two days, customers will not have to pay the 4% sales tax on the first 25 hundred dollars of each item they buy. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesperson Byron Henderson says it only comes once a year.

 "This is the annual sales tax holiday, that applies to most of what we call tangible person property
The tax exemption only applies to the state sales tax of 4%. Henderson says any other taxes will still apply.
"Sales tax exemption only applies to the 4% state sales tax, so any local sales taxes will still apply"
Not all items and services will be up for the tax holiday. Henderson says many bigger purchases and popular services are not on the list.
"What is not covered are vehicles subject to title, and meals prepared on the premises. There is also a list of other things."

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Concealed weapons now allowed in restaurants

Starting today, individuals with a concealed carry permit are allowed to bring a concealed firearm into restaurants that serve alcohol. The HB 72, sponsored by Metairie representative Joe Lopinto, is now in effect, along with a host of other bills that were passed in the last legislative session. Bossier City representative Jeff Thompson says the bill clears up a conflict in the law.

"We resolved that conflict to allow those that have a lawfully issued concealed carry permit into a class A establishments, that have the majority of their revenue from food, and not alcohol sales."
One of the biggest concerns with the law was that people may start bringing guns into bars. Thompson says that's not in the bill.

"In no way is this intended to interject firearms into bars, or other situations where someone is being irresponsible with alcohol."
The bill increases the growing number of places that citizens with licenses are allowed to enter with their concealed weapons. Thompson says the intent was to protect responsible concealed carry holders and their families.

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No more smoking on campus after today

Michelle Southern reporting.
Today is the last day that anyone will be allowed to smoke at public college campuses in Louisiana. In 2013 the state legislature passed a law requiring all public institutions of higher education to go smoke free by August 1st, 2014. Many schools have chosen to go tobacco free like LSU according to Vice Chancellor for student life Kurt Keppler.

"Governor Jindal created a Well Spot initiative recently indicating he wanted all institutions to be considered such a spot go tobacco free," said Keppler. "So that's what we've decided to do."

Keppler says these tobacco free policies that campuses are adopting all throughout the state rely on the courtesy, respect and cooperation of all members of the university community.

He says the ultimate goal of the implementation of the smoke free policy is to change people's behavior.

"We're not caught up in trying to fine or sanction or punish people," said Keppler. "We're trying to get other people to get people to stop..so we'll be using signage to help with that."

Keppler says these smoke-free policies are becoming a national trend as colleges want to send the message that smoking cigarettes are chewing tobacco is seen as a habit they're trying to stop.

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